As a parent, keeping kids safe is our top priority when our children return to school. This year will be very different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The thought of how the schools, administrators and teachers will be handling this in public, private and charter schools may create discomfort for some of us when not much information has been shared in detail regarding this adjustment. At this time, Manatee County School District is allowing parents to choose how their children will return to school. This decision, for many parents, will depend on their comfort level and personal situation.
The three models offered by the School Board are: Brick & Mortar, e-Learning, and Hybrid. During the first survey that they sent to parents, over 11,639 parents answered that they want children returning to school, according to Mrs. Cynthia Sanders, Superintendent of Schools during her presentation in a webinar provided by the Chamber of Commerce of Manatee County. After the Executive Order, a high percentage of parents still agree with this option. Private and Charter Schools may have different options for parents to choose from.
“As some communities in the United States open K-12 schools, CDC offers the following considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”
– CDC Operating Schools During COVID-19
During this time when we are listening to the news more often, our stress levels and anxiety tend to increase. We must remember that we are modeling these behaviors for our children and should be aware of the impact that all this stress is having on them as well. Some signs that your child might be affected by this are:
- Excessive worrying.
- Change of sleep habits.
- Poor School performance.
- Substance abuse.
At home and at school we need to encourage everyday preventive actions such as:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid close contact with people that are sick.
- Wear a cloth face mask.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Launder items as needed including plush toys.
It is understandable that parents and teachers are concerned about the risks and restrictions of returning to onsite classrooms. Safety measures, such as good hygiene practices and increased cleaning, should be followed and performed after every period. Something that we have to take into consideration as well is that many children struggle with remote learning, so it would be advisable to implement strategies that minimize exposure to screen time and find ways to keep kids healthy and active when they’re not in the classroom.